(Vigna unguiculata L. Walp.)
Cowpea, an annual legume, is also commonly referred to as southern pea, blackeye pea, crowder pea, lubia, niebe, coupe or frijole. Cowpea originated in Africa and is widely grown in Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia and in the southern United States. It is chiefly used as a grain crop, for animal fodder, or as a vegetable. The history of cowpea dates to ancient West African cereal farming, 5 to 6 thousand years ago, where it was closely associated with the cultivation of sorghum and pearl millet.
Acceptable well known states where it is grown
Cowpea is grown in Nigeria at varying degrees, but the crop seems to do best in the drier climates of the northern regions. Nigeria is the largest cowpea/pulses producer in All Africa, and the 4th largest producer in the World after India, Canada and Burma. The major growing/production areas in Nigeria are: Borno, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kano, Gombe and Yobe
Potential yield of the crop
1,000–1500 kg/ha are expected on a well-managed field and under good rainfall distribution.
Use 50–100 kg/ha (1–2 bags) of single superphosphate depending on the level of P-deficiency or 100 kg/ha (2 bags) of NPK 15:15:15.
Use 50 kg/ha (1 bag) of single superphosphate on land under continuous cropping. Broadcast the fertilizer and harrow it before planting. Alternatively, apply 150kg/ha of NPK 15:15:15 in the sam way.
Give minimum of 2 hoe-weedings the first 3 weeks after planting and the second 4–5 weeks after planting. and leaving them in the field to dry.
CLEAN SEED BED:
Use Galexet™ 200–250 ml/20L of water as pre-emergence herbicide not later than the second day after planting. Pendimethalin (Stomp) at the rate of 200–250 ml/20L of water can be used to control corn grass (Rottboellia cochinchinensis). For maximum activity of the herbicide, the farmer must make sure thet there is enough moisture in the soil before application.
Where minimum tillage is adopted, use Paraquat (GramozoneTM) at 200 ml/20L of water to eliminate emerging weeds.
Diseases and pest control
Use Benlate at the rate of 15g/10L of water; 2–3 applications are required, beginning from flowering. For good control of insect pests as well as brown blotch disease, a mixture of Benlate® and the appropriate insecticide will produce a satisfactory result. Farmers can use high volume, ultra-low-volume or electrodyne formulations and their respective a sprayers.
Cowpea should follow early season cereals such as maize or rice on the same land. If possible, do not grow more than two successive crops of cowpea on the same land. Also do not grow cowpea after other crops susceptible in root-knot nematodes, such as tomatoes, kenaf, and leaf vegetables.
Flower thrips, pod borers and pod sucking bugs: To obtain good yields, flower thrips and pod borers must be controlled with any of the broad spectrum insecticides.
- Karate™ EC 80 ml/20 L of water (1 L/ha), Sherpa plus™ 80 ml/20 L of water or Cymbush super™ ED at 1.0 litre/ha. or Karate™ super Ed at 1.0 L/ha. Spraying must begin from 5 weeks after planting or at flower initiation at 7–10 days intervals with a maximum or 3 or 4 sprayings. However, aphid infestation occurs much earlier than 5WAP, Pirimor™ should be sprayed at 2 gm/20 L of water for aphid control or 40 ml/20L of water of Karate™ to control foliage beetles or aphids.
How long it takes to grow
Cowpea can be harvested at three different stages of maturity: green snaps, green-mature, and dry. Depending on temperature, fresh-market (green-mature) peas are ready for harvest 16 to 17 days after bloom (60 to 90 days after planting). Harvest date for green snap pods is normally specified by the processor.
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